Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is reeling following the devastating Easter Sunday bomb attacks on churches and upmarket hotels that left 300 dead, and many more hundreds injured.
There are reports of tourists already fleeing the island, and many more cancelling planned trips following the deadly attacks that counted 36 foreigners including Australians as among those killed.
Sri Lanka is a bucket list destination for many and was named the world’s top destination for 2019 by Lonely Planet.
Three hotels in the capital Colombo, the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri-La and the Kingsbury Hotel, were targeted, all of which have closed until further notice. Other 5-star properties hotels such as the Taj Samudra Colombo and the Galle Face Hotel have added extra security, including armed guards who prevented anyone but guests from entering.
German schoolteacher Martin Ewest arrived with his family two days before the attacks, but says they want to leave as soon as possible.
“But our embassy can’t help because they are on holiday, our airline says they can’t do anything, and our hotel has not offered us any assistance,” he told AFP.
“It’s a difficult situation… we are like sitting ducks, waiting until we can leave next week.”
Warning of further possible terrorist attacks, the US has revised its travel advisory for Sri Lanka, while Australia has advised citizens to exercise caution while in the country.